Thursday, November 29, 2012

Auto Knitter Made in Canada

Meet the Auto Knitter, a circular sock knitting machine from 1924.

An early Holiday gift from my father, and one that will put to great use, once I get it up and running.

Machines like this were very popular during and just after the first world war.  A person could buy a machine and a contract to produce socks.  Some companies even gave the machine on condition that the person would produce so many socks for free.  Sadly, many of these did not survive over time, often being melted for ammunition during the second world war.

This machine came with some excellent documentation, including the original contract and bill of sale.  In the year 1924, a Mrs. M. C. Russell of Malrose Ave. South, Hamilton, Ontario paid the sum of $60.85 for 1 duplex machine.  (if you are a descendent of Mrs Russell, feel free to get in touch, I can scan you a copy of the materials that reference her.  There are more details than what I'm posting here.  There is also material referencing a Mrs. W. Wilson of Emerald St. North, Hamilton who was a "successful worker in Hamilton" of the Auto Knitter Hosiery (Canada) Co. LTD.).

A worker, would be required to buy the yarn from the company, 2 and 1/2 lb of yarn making a dozen pairs of socks.  Then the company would buy the finished socks back from the 'knitter'.  Pretty cool cottage industry eh?

the spring holds the needles in place,
and this little bar thing holds the spring out of the way
when you need to work on several needles at once.

This machine is in fair condition.  There is some definite wear marks, but everything is here, including extra cylinders and ribbers.  It had been stored somewhere where it got saw dust on and in it.  Sawdust sticks to machinery like a red wine stain to a white shirt.  Things like sawdust and lint, then attract moisture, and moisture when combined with metal over time causes rust.  Lucky for me it wasn't too bad, but did need everything taken apart  cleaned and re-oiled.  A tedious and time consuming, but the kind of finicky repetitive work I love.

With everything cleaned and reassembled, it's time to cast on some knitting.

weird looking tool for casting on work
The amount of difficulty I've had trying to get the knitting started has helped me to understand why people didn't stop their work very often.  What they did was knit one sock, then a few rounds of waste yarn, then another sock, then some waste yarn... separating the socks at the waste yarn and finishing them by hand.  That way, if done correctly, they would be able to knit for years and never need to cast on.

from the auto knitter manual

from the auto knitter manual

I'm not the only one who has had trouble casting on.  Included in the documentation is a letter from the company providing extra advice.  But even following that advice, I can't get it to work.

I'm either all tangles or braking yarn.

Eventually I'll make it work, or perhaps find a mentor at the local machine knitting guild.  There don't seem to be many tutorials online, so now I have a good idea for a future post.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

You are wonderful! This blog goes on.

Wow, you actually like me.

Thank you.

To be completely honest, I stayed away from the internet yesterday, after I posted my request.  I was nervous to see what sort of response I would get, if any.  It's my fault for not knowing you guys better.

Thank you so much for your kind words and donations.  I have enough to now to keep going with my blogs for a little over a year, which is WONDERFUL.  Almost as wonderful as you are.  Thank you, you know who you are.

I wish I had better words to express how much this means to me and how much motivation you've given me.      The best I can think of is that you people have been a source of light in the dark.  It's no where near poetic enough.

Due to the fact that most of this month has been November, and it looks like the rest of the month is going to do the same, I haven't kept up with my internet.  The next few days are dedicated to catching up on my emails, etsy, ravelry, and all the rest while I think about the future of this blog.

Oh, I also have to take care of my ailing chicken, Henny Penny (she's the bestest chicken ever!) who has something weird going on with her toe.

What shall my goals be with this blog?

First and foremost  I need  to remind myself of my mission statement (see top of page) and focus on positive things that inspire me.  

Next, I think I would like to focus more on tutorials and educational goodies.  I feel that a lot of my posts are more along the lines of 'hey, look at this neat thing I found'.  That's not a bad thing, and there is no way I can keep those kinds of posts from creping up, but I think it would be nice to add some more useful information to the internet.

Also, I'm really keen to document the restoration of the vintage travel trailer.  Well, I say restoration, but it's technically a rebuilding.  Many of the surface elements will be like original, with hidden elements (like awesome insulation and fridge) quietly sitting in the background.

I wonder about this kind of post, where I basically think out loud.  I don't know if they are inspirational or if they add anything to the verbal diarrhoea that is the internet.

Another thing I don't like, but isn't going to change unless I brought in an editor from outside, is the terrible spelling.  And, the fact that I only do one or two revisions on a post before it goes live.  Terribly dyslexic combined with terribly impatient means that I would have to try a whole later harder before my blog could be as awesome as Just Bento or Food 52 (both take the most amazing photos - how do they do that?  I want to be just like them if I ever grow up).  As much as I would like to, I don't imagine I could ever be in the same league as them.  But at least it gives me something to aspire towards.

Most of my food, cooking, recipes, and even food related farming will probably move over to my Whole Wheat FSM blog.  I know it doesn't get very high rankings on the search engine yet, but it's a lovely, clean blog, where you don't have years of self indulgence to wade through to get at the good stuff (yes, that's probably no the healthiest way to think about myself.).

Speaking about lovely, clean blogs... this blog is a mess.  It is my goal to change the formatting slightly, update the links, find a working form of advertisement so that the blog can fund itself.

You told me that you like me, and that means a lot to me.  Please tell me your thoughts. What brought you here?  What is it that made you stick around?  What would you like to see more of?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Do you like this blog? Seeking help, please read.

After the goodbye post I wrote the other day, I've been kind of bummed out

Looking back at my blog, I'm really amazed at all the things I've done.  In some ways it's hard to imagine that it was really me who wrote those words and took those photos.  Given how much my illness changed me (emotionally, physically and also to some extent, brain chemistry), it is like I was a different person then.

This started out as a knitting blog and release for my hypergraphic tendencies (I have a compulsion to write things down).  It was a chance to focus on things that inspire me and to share the positive aspects of my life.

Over the years, it grew into something so much more than that.   There are tutorials, recipes, farming stuff, restoration of antique and vintage textile tools, spinning, weaving, sewing, and many other topics.

There are periods of silence, when I'm struggling to find positive things in my life to write about, but I have always come back to you in the past.

I like to imagine that sharing my experiences have been useful, or at least entertaining to others.  That, more than anything, is why I would like to keep on blogging.

The problem is, I've run out of space on my blog hosting site.  To keep writing on this blog I will need to buy a subscription.  The subscription costs about $2.50 per month, which should give me enough space to keep me happily blogging for a year or two.

It may not seem like a lot of money, but to me it is.  I don't talk about it much here, but I'm on a very small disability pension and need to be very careful with my cash.  Maybe you can read between the lines a little and realize when half the price of a cup of coffee is too much, things aren't going so well.

Priorities could be changed and I could find the money somewhere, but I don't know if it is worth it.  Do people actually find my ramblings useful, entertaining, enlightening?

I could always switch blog hosts and start a new blog elsewhere, but unless this stays active, the content will slowly dwindle away and be lost.  Besides, this blog has been around so long, it very high on the search engine list, which makes it really awesome.

That's why I'm asking you for help.

(why is asking this so difficult for me? it seems like everyone else on the internet doesn't have this problem, so why do I?)

Can you show me that it's worth keeping on with this bog?  

If you like anything about this blog, please donate $2.50.  More is okay too.

If I can get enough for a year's subscription ($30) to expand the storage space on this blog, then I'll keep on writing with great enthusiasm.  Not just here on Trampled by Geese, but also on my somewhat secret food blog, Adventures of a Whole Wheat Pastafarian.  It will also help to keep my Lyme blog up as a reference for anyone struggling with the illness (although I don't blog there much any more as it makes me sad).

If we get to $30, then I'll know that it's actually worth while sharing my time and adventures with you all.  Otherwise, well... what's the point?

Thank you for reading.

ps. If I keep on with this blog, I'm thinking of selling advertising space but not really sure how to go about it.  Google adds aren't all that super for me as they don't seem to target the right demographic   Please get in touch if you can think of anything.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Good bye for now, or longer...

I'm on the lookout for a new blogging service.  Suddenly blogger has a limit (an impossibly small limit I might add) on how much content I can upload to my blogs.  Well, maybe not all that sudden, but I don't remember it being so small before.

I would ask for recommendations on a new blogging service, but quite frankly, I don't know if I have it in me to learn a new system.  This might just be the end of me and blogging, which makes me sad.  I was so excited about sharing my journey repairing that vintage trailer and the antique knitting machine I picked up  last week, not to mention some cool sewing with saori cloth, and a continuation on the vintage/antique sewing machine posts.

Yes, I've been busy this last year with less happy things, but turned the corner again and was really looking forward to chatting with you guys.  But I'm just so F-ing tired (yep, I said a bad word) of all these obstacles life keeps assaulting me with.

So basically good bye for now, maybe good bye for longer.  I've really enjoyed interacting with you all over the years, you've been a great inspiration and hope.  Thank you for taking the time to share these adventures with me.

Unless, some kind stranger likes this blog and would be interested in donating a few dollars to get the improved data plan thing?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Mostly I'm just writing this post to see if I can upload photos to my blog any more.  But if it works, it's a really inspiring photo of a cup I found somewhere on the internet.  Sorry, I lost the link, but if it's yours, please tell me so I can give it a proper linkback.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

SALE at my Etsy shop - possible last chance

It looks like I'll be taking my etsy inventory down to the local yarn shop for sale over Christmas. So this is going to be your last chance to buy my yarn on etsy for quite a while. It's also your last chance to take advantage of my destash sale and get 35% off your purchase. You just need to type DESTASHTIME in the coupon slot at check out.

The sale is almost over, so take advantage of it while you can.